The Little House by the Sea (Pennystrand Village Book 1) by Tracy Rees


source: ARC via NetGalley/Bookouture
title: The Little House by the Sea (Pennystrand Village Book 1)
author: Tracy Rees
pages: 277
published: August 24, 2022
genre: fiction
first line: Kitty, it’s time to go home now.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

about:
Bluebells bob in the salty sea wind and the cottage gate swings open to reveal the inky-blue cove. It’s exactly how Kitty always pictured it… except in her head, she wasn’t standing here alone.

Kitty Roberts spends her days searching for the perfect home for two… until her boyfriend dumps her. Devastated, she flees to a tiny seaside village called Pennystrand, where she spent golden summers as a child, before her family fell apart.

At first, Kitty’s dramatic escape proves to be exactly what she needs – golden sunsets over warm, sandy beaches, lovably eccentric new neighbours and even a blush-inducing run-in with Cory Hudson, a floppy-haired local surfer with a heart-stopping smile.
But just as Kitty feels herself beginning to heal, Cory reveals that his time in Pennystrand is nearly up. What’s more, some strange reactions to Kitty in town make her wonder if her connection to this place might go deeper than she thought.
What is this tranquil little village hiding? It seems there’s a secret in Kitty’s past that is about to turn her life on its head once more… Is she ready for the truth? And will it bring her and Cory closer together, or drive them apart?

A page-turning story full of unexpected twists and turns. It will make you smile, laugh and wish you could visit Pennystrand! Absolutely perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Heidi Swain and Carole Matthews.

my thoughts:
The Little House by the Sea (Pennystrand Village Book 1) by Tracy Rees is a light, summery book and I breezed right through it.

As the story starts off, Kitty Roberts spends her days working at a job she doesn’t really like but saving her money to buy her dream home with her live in boyfriend Mitch. That is until she and Mitch suddenly break up leaving Kitty totally heartbroken. She decides to visit a psychic who suggests she should move to a house by the sea and so she does. She ends up renting a house for 6 months in Wales in the small town of Pennystrand where she would visit as a child with her parents and sisters. She has her savings to count on for now until she decides what to do next but she starts looking for work in Pennystrand in the meantime. What she finds there is a small community of locals, gorgeous views and a lot of time to self reflect.

“Running away to find myself in a beautiful new place was a romantic-sounding idea. But this is real. I’m hurt, scared and alone, my dreams in smithereens, and I’ve displaced myself further by coming here.”- The Little House by the Sea by Tracy Rees

The story moved along quickly and I rooted for Kitty, she’s a down to earth relatable type of character. I wondered how it would end up for her as she tries to meet new people in Pennystrand and tries to move on with her life. What a nice idea, to pack it up and move to a quaint little beachside town right? Pennystrand is described so nicely I could easily envision the small town setting and the sounds of the ocean waves. The supporting cast of characters was well written and the story moved at a steady pace and held my interest throughout. The plot took a few twists and turns as Kitty settles into Pennystrand life and there is also a secret woven into the storyline that I did not see coming. It all wraps up nicely in the end while leaving it open for the next book in the series. This is a story about starting over and second chances.

The Little House by the Sea is one of those feel good stories best read in your comfy pajamas while sipping a warm cup of tea and enjoying homemade cookies which is exactly how I read most of it.

“I crack the window open an inch and smell the sea, though I can’t see it. A fresh, sweet breeze drifts in. It’s the sky that seals the deal for me-pale blue, like old, ironed sheets, stretched across a faintly glowing lemon sun, with scuds of cloud and gleams of light. I’ve never seen so much sky.”- The Little House by the Sea

We fall quiet, jokes forgotten, and take in the immensity of the ocean around us. Sharp cliffs rear into the sky, and I can see a coast path and the tiny figures of walkers. Above, the sky is vast and blue and white, an endless canopy. The most hypnotic thing is the lap and hiss of the water retreating and renewing, sighing and seething.-The Little House by the Sea


about the author:
Tracy Rees is a Cambridge graduate with a degree in Modern and Medieval Languages. After an eight-year career in nonfiction publishing, she worked as a counselor for people with cancer and their families. Amy Snow is her first novel. She lives in Swansea, Wales.



Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My copy of The Little House by the Sea (Pennystrand Village Book 1) by Tracy Rees came via NetGalley/Bookouture.

Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde



source: review copy via Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley
title: Seven Perfect Things
author: Catherine Ryan Hyde / Twitter
genre: fiction
pages: 320
published: May 2021
first line: When Elliot opened the door, the woman on his welcome mat stuck him as bizarrely young.
rated: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Blurb:
A heart-stirring novel about the joy that comes from finding love in unexpected places by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father.

Seven Perfect Things is a story about joy, where to find it, how to know it when you see it, and the courage it takes to hang on to it once you have it.


My thoughts:
I have yet to read a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I didn’t enjoy. This author has a way of writing wonderful stories about everyday people who do everyday things to help each other out. She writes about everyday heroes so well.

Seven Perfect Things revolves around 13 year old Abby, her mother Mary, newly widowed Elliot and 7 puppies. Abby finds herself responsible for a litter of 7 puppies and in trying to take care of them she’s also learning life lessons about responsibility and trust. The puppies need her, and she needs them.

Abby’s mother Mary married young and has lived in an unhappy marriage to her verbally abusive and controlling husband since then. Dependent on her husband financially she continues to say with him.

Elliot’s wife recently passed away and he goes to his vacation cabin in the woods for peace and quiet before he returns to work in the city. At the cabin is when he meets Abby and the puppies by a twist of fate. As the story flows, Mary, Abby and Elliot form a bond. The puppies bring theses three together.

Like I said, I really enjoyed Seven Perfect Things. I sped right through it. I found myself invested in these characters and the puppies tugged at my heartstrings of course. Abby was written really well and I rooted for her from the start. She finds these puppies who need help and she does everything she can to care for them. I felt bad for Mary who was always on edge worried about her husband’s moods. She has an awakening and finally realizes how her life revolves around her husband and that staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of her daughter is doing more harm that good. Elliot is grieving the recent loss of his wife and in meeting Abby and Mary he finds a new purpose in helping them out.

The ending was nice as well and nothing felt rushed. These three seemed like real people with real daily struggles to overcome. I recommend Seven Perfect Things if you’re looking for an engaging read with realistic and relatable characters.

“Though she couldn’t quite put it into words, she resented having been thrust into a world where such perfect little beings could be treated as worthless. She knew she had been living in that world all along, but she resented having been forced awake. Forced to recognize it. But the puppies themselves…they were perfect.”Seven Perfect Things, 21% Kindle



About the Author:
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of forty books (and counting). An avid traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she shares her astrophotography with readers on her website.

Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow list, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other journals; in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts; and in the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Copilot. Her stories have been honored by the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and have been nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in the annual Best American Short Stories anthology.

She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

For more information, please visit the author at www.catherineryanhyde.com. – quoted from Amazon



Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. My copy of Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde came via Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

The Disgraceful Lord Gray (The King’s Elite #3) by Virginia Heath

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source: free review copy via Rachel’s Random Resources
title: The Disgraceful Lord Gray (The King’s Elite Book 3)
author: Virginia Heath / Twitter
genre: historical romance/espionage
pages: 288
published: March 21st 2019
first line: There was no doubt about it.
rated: 4 out of 5
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blurb:
A spy on a mission…

Until he meets this heiress!

Part of The King’s Elite. Miss Theodora Cranford’s learned to keep her impetuous nature locked away. She won’t be deceived by another man who can’t see past her fortune. She wants an honourable, sensible sort – not a self-assured scoundrel like her new neighbour, Lord Gray. Although she’s sure there’s more to him than meets the eye… But after that first captivating kiss, she’s certainly left wanting more!

my thoughts:

The Disgraceful Lord Gray (The King’s Elite Book 3) by Virginia Heath was entertaining historical romance with a blend of intrigue, mystery and a dash of humor.

Miss Theodora Cranford is a twenty-three year old heiress who lives with her uncle and his wife. She has her guard up around would be suitors because most men want her for her money. Lord Graham Chadwick a.k.a. Gray is a member of the King’s Elite who is on the hunt for a smuggling ring. This quest brings him to Thea’s home because he suspects her uncle is the ring leader. Gray has had a rough past, ten years ago he was betrayed by his father, his brother and his first love and as a result he gambled away his inheritance. This is something he has never fully gotten over. Since then he has had affairs with ladies but never taken any seriously. Now working as a spy he is hoping to get a promotion if he takes down the smuggling ring.

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Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

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source: Purchased
title: Starry Night: A Christmas Novel
author: Debbie Macomber(Twitter)
genre: contemporary holiday romance
published: 2013
pages: 231
first line: Carrie Slayton’s feet were killing her.
rated: 3 out of 5
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blurb:
’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

My thoughts:

I was in a Christmasy mood so I ordered a copy of Starry Night a few weeks ago. I am a seasonal reader and I try to enjoy at least one holiday book this time of year.
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Starry Night is my first time reading Debbie Macomber. I’ve often seen her books around and I know she is popular in the genre and that some of her books have been made into Hallmark Christmas movies. In the foreword for Starry Night she mentions that she writes a Christmas book every year.

While I found Starry Night to be sweet Christmas romance, it did not blow me away like I wanted it too. It revolves around Chicago based columnist Carrie Slayton who is about to quit her job because she can’t see herself getting ahead with no serious assignments only gossip column stuff. Her boss tells her that if she can find and interview mysterious author Finn Dalton then she will have more serious assignments moving forward and be able to advance her career. Finn wrote a book about living in the wilderness that became an international bestseller and he has gone into hiding ever since. With the holidays around the corner Carrie decides to use her vacation time to find the mysterious Finn.

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Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel by Mia Hopkins

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source: free ARC via NetGalley/Randomhouse/LoveSwept
title: Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel
author: Mia Hopkins/ Twitter
published: March 13, 2018
pages: 254
genre: contemporary steamy romance
first lines: You want a hero. Before we start, you should know-I’m not him. I’m not your hero.
rated: 3 out of 5  1heartred1heartred1heartred

blurb:
My name is Salvador Rosas. Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang—my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer? No mames.

Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her . . . and if I touch her, I might get burned.

I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.

my thoughts:
You know how sometimes you don’t realize something right away? I’m trying to think of an example to elaborate further but it eludes me right now.

I have to say right off the bat that Mia Hopkins is a great writer, I enjoyed her writing style and Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel drew me in from page one. This is one of those books you can read in one sitting, I read it in two. The story is told first person POV by Salvador Rosas a.k.a. Ghost. I requested this one from NetGalley because I saw it revolved around Latinos. Being Puerto Rican myself this book intrigued me straight away because the main characters are Latin and I enjoy good romance. I haven’t read a full on romance novel featuring Hispanics before. Like ever. I’ve never really come across any. And I read alot of romance, it is a favorite genre but the couples are usually white. So guess what happened when I finally found a romance novel centering on a Latino couple? Guess.

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The hero is a gang-banger. Ghost is Mexican, he has recently finished serving a five-year prison stint for car theft. He’s a janitor now. And duh, this is all in the blurb I know. It didn’t dawn on me until I started reading. I decided to keep reading because like I said the writing was very good. I didn’t like the stereotypes here though and they did bother me. I think the author wrote a good book but it is just that for my first time reading a Latin centered romance, I didn’t like that the hero was a gang-banger. So, I read on and I actually enjoyed the story. I will say, it is a story about getting your life together so the plot was full of hope and redemption.

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